March 2009 foreign tourist arrivals to Bali (161,169) increased month-on-month 4.7%, as compared to the same month in 2008. Arrivals covering the first three months of the year (Q1) totaled 465,182 – improving 3.61% over Q1 2008 (448,954).
In the midst of a very uncertain business climate internationally, that Bali has managed to record its best-ever opening quarter ever is remarkable, contradicting – at least for now – pundits prophesizing a collapse of Bali’s overseas travel markets.
Bali’s salvation remains it steady source of regional travelers coming from the Asia-Pacific and Asia. During Q1 2009, tourists hailing from the Asian-Pacific region increased 4.89%, while ASEAN visitors increased 19.91%. Meanwhile, reflecting the sluggish economies of Europe and the Americas, total visitors from those markets decreased 3.56% and -3.12%, respectively, during Q1 2009.
• With the exception of a dip in arrivals during February 2009, monthly arrivals for January and March registered strong growth over 2008. February’s lackluster performance may be traceable to the lack of any major holiday falling within that month that might have otherwise bolstered regional arrivals.
• Cumulative arrivals over the first three months of 2009 improved from Australia (+25.92%), the People’s Republic of China (+39.99%), Malaysia (+19.89%), Russia (+6.33%), the Netherlands (+2.96%), and France (+19.36%). Meanwhile, market “losers” recording decreased numbers for Q1 2009 included Japan (-11.59%), Taiwan (-24%), South Korean (-8.81%), U.S.A. (-7.9%), Germany (-19.35%) and the United Kingdom (-17.83%).
Changing economic fortunes are also seeing a shift in the hierarchy of key markets to Bali.
At least for now, Japan remains the top market source to Bali followed by Australia in number the number two rank. If, however, Australia numbers remain buoyant and Japanese numbers continue to decrease, look for Australia to take over Japan’s traditional role as Bali’s top producing market ranking. Japan’s toppling from the top position could happen as early as April or May, if current trends persist. Remember the Bali travel warning issued by Australia?
A new player in Bali’s top 5 producing markets is the People’s Republic of China, now ranked at the number 3 post, eyeing a chance to become number 2 as the year progresses. In the number four ranking is Malaysia. South Korea and Taiwan who have traditional been Bali’s third and fourth largest source markets are now some distance back in the pack, involved in a neck-on-neck battle for fifth and sixth place.
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